(Ricky Scaparo) I want to share with you three commandments from the Lord out of Matthew chapter 6 that promises great blessing when performed through obedience. These three commandments are fundamental markers of the walk of the believers life and is a threefold cord that will revolutionize your walk with God! All three of these duties of the Believer have one thing in common. They are all intended to be done in the devotional private life of the Believer and will produce public rewards! I believe these three duties are the very foundation of our walk with God and building our faith in him. Below Is the three commandments of the Lord to the Believer, Not three “Suggestions”.
GIVING: Matthew 6:1-4 – “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Our first commandment is the area of giving. This is one area that probably causes more controversy and strife in the body of Christ than any other subject. In fact many Churches fear talking about money because the backlash it produces from many of the people in the congregation. We have all heard the phrase “All those preachers want is my money”. Now for some ministries that may be the case but not for all. However I want to tell you that there is a great blessing in giving. In fact the Apostle Paul even said “It is more of a Blessing to “Give” than it is to receive”. He also told the church at Philippi:
Philippians 4:15-20 – Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Notice in this passage above that Paul tells the Church of Philippi that they were the only Church that shared with him the revelation of “Giving and Receiving”. Paul then tells them that he was not seeking their money but the opportunity for them to be blessed. He reveals this by telling them that God would supply all their need according to the riches and Glory of Christ Jesus but that it was directly connected with giving and being a blessing to others.
When an opportunity comes to be a blessing to someone don’t be afraid to step out and be obedient. Remember the words of Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
PRAYING: Matthew 6:5-6 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The next duty of the believer is the area of prayer. This is one of the most essential duties there is because it is simply communion with our Heavenly Father. I have always said “When we pray, we speak to God, and when we read his word we “Hear from God”. Notice Jesus tells us that it is essential that we have a “private devotional” life with our Heavenly Father. It is time alone with him. Corporate prayer is powerful and many times needed but nothing compares to our “Private Devotional” time with him. Jesus lead by example many times in the Bible when he would depart from the multitudes and the disciples for a season to get alone with his Father and commune in prayer. He would then return and cast out devils, raise the dead and perform mighty miracles.
When we release our prayers, intercessions and petitions before the throne of God they are received by the Lord and the answers are released in his appointed season. Notice the Lord instructs us to “Pray in Secret” that we may be “Rewarded Openly”. Many of the blessings I have today were a direct result of private prayer and intercession that resulted in the conception of the blessings and promises and later at the appointed time was brought forth.
FASTING: Matthew 6:16-18 – “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Finally we have the duty of fasting. This is one area that many believers don’t practice and actually condemn today, and teach others the same. However Jesus fasted and his disciples as well. In fact in Matthew 9:14-15 – The bible tells us that the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Did you catch that? Jesus plainly told them as long as the Bridegroom was on the Earth they would not need to fast but when the day came that he would be removed it would then be required. Obviously the Bridegroom has been taken and has been gone for over 2000 years now. Thus fasting is not only a duty of the believer but essential in our walk with the Lord. I have always said “If Jesus was required to fast for a period of time, what makes you and I think we are any better”? There is power and anointing that is released through fasting that I believe would not happen without it. The bible indicates that when Jesus returned to Galilee from a 40 days fast he was full of the power of the Holy ghost and began to be used to bring miracles and deliverance to the people.
Remember any one of these 3 duties are powerful in itself but how would the walk of the believer be transformed if all three of these were practiced regularly? I believe the Lord intended for us to walk in the power of his might with a red hot devotional prayer life with the blessings of God equipping us to fulfill our purpose on this Earth. I don’t know about you but I can always strengthen any of these areas as much as possible to be able to have clarity and power to complete the calling that he has set me apart for such a time as this.